This course is at capacity.

Course Type


All Scheduled Dates

This course takes place over two parts on March 3, 2023:

  • Part I: 9:30am-11:30am
  • Lunch Break: 11:30am-12:30pm (on your own)
  • Part II: 12:30pm-2:30pm

Learners are expected to attend Part I and Part II.

Additional 2023 dates to be scheduled.

Course Length

4 hours



Learners who complete this 4-hour course will receive a certificate of completion from the Academy.

Psychological First Aid (PFA)


Psychological First Aid (PFA) is an evidence-informed approach to help in the aftermath of stressful and potentially traumatic events. PFA is designed to reduce the initial distress caused by these events and help people strengthen short-term and long-term coping strategies during challenging times.

PFA does not assume that everyone who experiences a stressful or challenging event will develop severe mental health problems or long-term difficulties. Instead, it is based on an understanding that individuals will experience a broad range of common reactions – including physical, psychological, behavioral, and spiritual – to stress and trauma. Some of these reactions will cause people enough distress to interfere with adaptive coping.

In these circumstances, support from caring and compassionate responders can help facilitate recovery. PFA skills are designed to address acute needs for increased support immediately after a stressful event. PFA provides a framework to identify signs of distress, offer supportive and active listening, and understand how to link people with additional care when needed. PFA also emphasizes self-care for the helpers and building personal resilience while supporting others.


Participants will learn 8 PFA Core Actions:

  • Contact and Engagement: to initiate contacts in a non-intrusive, compassionate, and helpful way.
  • Safety and Comfort: to enhance immediate and ongoing safety, and to provide physical and emotional comfort.
  • Stabilization (if needed): to calm and orient emotionally overwhelmed or disoriented individuals.
  • Gathering Information on Current Needs and Concerns: to identify immediate needs and concerns, gather additional information, and tailor PFA interventions.
  • Practical Assistance: to offer practical help to individuals in addressing immediate needs and concerns.
  • Connection with Social Supports: to help establish brief or ongoing contacts with primary support persons and other sources of support, including family members, friends, and/or community resources.
  • Information on Coping: to provide information on common stress reactions and coping, to ultimately reduce distress and promote adaptive functioning.
  • Linkage with Collaborative Services: to link individuals with available services needed at the time, or in the future.


This interactive course will include presentation as well as opportunities to participate and practice. Learners can expect individual activities, small group activities, and group discussion. We will ask participants to turn their cameras on during group activities and discussions, and welcome participants to stay on-camera throughout the course.


This course is open to staff of any non-profit community organization or government agency that delivers social services in NYC. It is intended for staff and managers who provide services directly to community members who may have experienced, or be at risk for, stressful or traumatic events. No prior mental health background is needed.


Nicole Ross